Virtual Poster Showcase
This program is no longer active
Career Stage
Award Type
Of Note

Helping Students Succeed in Science

The Virtual Poster Showcase (VPS) was a guided peer-review process and online presentation competition for undergraduate and graduate students studying Earth and space science. VPS was a way for students (at any level of experience) to hone the skills most important for succeeding in science while still in school. These skills are highly important in both academia and professional workplaces, however attending scientific conferences to professionally present research is not accessible to everyone. VPS provides the experience of presenting scientific research without barriers like the investment of time and money to travel to an international conference.

There are four phases to participate: abstract submission, the poster presentation, judging, and recognition. Explore more about how to participate below and learn about incorporating VPS into a curriculum.

Honor Benefits
Recipients receive the following:

  • A certificate of participation, once all requirements have been met 
  • The first, second, and third place winners of the graduate and undergraduate showcases will receive AGU membership for the calendar year following their participation in VPS
  • The first-place winners of the graduate and undergraduate showcases will receive funding towards lodging and airfare (some restrictions apply) and free registration for the AGU Annual Meeting in the calendar year following their participation in VPS.
  • A few weeks after the conclusion of the showcase participants will receive information about how to cite their abstract. Abstracts will become available in the VPS database shortly thereafter.

Criteria for a Successful Submission

Submissions are evaluated on the following:

Each lead author participating in VPS is required to judge three posters and provide a score based on their visual appeal and scientific content. Students are expected to ask questions about the posters they are judging. Students will not be assigned to judge other students from the same institution or research project.  During the peer judging period, students must be available to log in to the VPS site.


The second judging phase involves experts, who are scientists and faculty, judging posters on scientific merit and on visual appeal. Judges can submit comments and questions about posters. Their comments, questions, and your responses will be posted online but only visible to you and other judges and reviewers assigned to your poster. You must be available to log in to the VPS site during the expert judging period.

  • Overall appearance (10 pts) – The poster looks professional and is aesthetically pleasing.
  • Text/graphics balance (5 pts) – Space is used effectively, and neither text nor graphics dominate the poster. Figures serve a purpose (not just filling space), and are appropriately titled and captioned.
  • Text size (5 pts) – The text is legible when the poster is viewed at full size.
  • Organizational flow (5 pts) – The poster has appropriate headings and clearly defined sections. All of the information is provided in a logical order.
  • Author identification (5 pts) – The author lists themselves and any co-authors, along with affiliations.
  • Main points (5 pts) – The fundamental points of the study are clearly identified, with little redundancy of information.
  • Summary (5 points) – Does the poster address the implications of the study?
  • The poster has introduction and background with literature cited, objective of the study, materials and methods (study design), results and discussion, and significance to field.
  • Quality of research will be judged on its scientific rigor and significance as conveyed by the poster. Poster displays must be self-explanatory. The accompanying video must also be able to give a high-level overview of the research that was conducted.
  • Abstract (5 pts) – The abstract is informative and aligns with the scientific content of the poster. It is well-written and coherent, clearly stating the goals of the project.
  • Research objective (10 pts) – What hypotheses are the poster addressing? What is the purpose of the study?
  • Background (10 pts) – The poster addresses why the research was done and sets the context for the study.
  • Methods/protocols (5 pts) – The poster clearly and informatively explains how the research was conducted. Is the study scientifically rigorous?
  • Finding and conclusions (10 pts) – The poster clearly states the results of the study. The poster explains the significance of the study and why the results are important.
  • Presentation style (10 pts) – The video summarizes all the parts of the poster in a concise and understandable manner. Does the video enhance the poster?


    Ability to answer questions.


Who is eligible to participate:
  • undergraduate students (pursuing a bachelor’s, bachelor’s honors, or associate’s degree)
  • graduate students (pursuing a master’s or Ph.D.)
  • select high school students
All Parties
Must be in compliance with AGU's conflict of interest and professional conduct policies.
Read AGU's Ethics Policies